One of Melissa’s first settlers came from the old Highlands community, two and a half miles north of present-day Melissa. C.H. Wysong was one of the earliest settlers. A post office was established in 1853. The Houston and Texas Central Railroad was built in Melissa in 1872. The town was laid out at this time. The railroad encouraged many families to come to Melissa. The town is believed to have been named for the daughter of a railroad executive, George A. Quinlan of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. There is some disagreement about this as others argue that the town was named after Melissa Huntington, daughter of C.P. Huntington, another well-known railroad executive. George Austin Quinlan did not have a daughter Melissa—Anna, Texas is named after Anna Elizabeth Quinlan (1878–1952), the only daughter of George Austin Quinlan and his wife Mary Kate Saunders (1851–1884). Quinlan, Texas is named after George Austin Quinlan (1838–1901), an executive of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.
The first school in Melissa was built on land purchased in 1882 by trustees James Graves, John Gibson, and George Fitzhugh, who were early settlers of the area. The first teacher was Mary Huckerston, who taught there for five years. The school began with 38 pupils. Church services were held there for all faiths on Sundays. A two-story brick schoolhouse was built on this site in 1910 to accommodate growth brought by the railroad.
Melissa was an important shipping point in the early 1900s. Corn, wheat, alfalfa hay, wood, and livestock were all sent out on the railroad.
Melissa ISD is a Recognized School District, including EXEMPLARY rated Harry McKillop Elementary and Melissa Ridge Intermediate Schools. There are approximately 1,400 students enrolled at four schools in the district: Harry McKillop Elementary School (opened 2008), Melissa Ridge Intermediate School, Melissa Middle School and Melissa High School.
In addition to excelling academically, Melissa ISD offers innovative approaches to learning for its students. During the 2008-09 school year, the Melissa ISD entered into an exciting partnership with Texas A&M Commerce to offer Melissa High School juniors and seniors the opportunity to participate in a dual credit program. Additionally the Melissa ISD partners with area employers to encourage students to excel in math and science as part of a unique engineering program.
In partnering with the City of Melissa, the Melissa ISD has planned for the anticipated growth and future needs of a developing community. Melissa is and always will be a “one high school town” – a school size that allows each student to get involved and excel while enjoying support from the entire Melissa community and is home to the 2011 2A Division 1 Texas State Football Champions! The outstanding student to teacher ratio of 15 to 1 allows each child to receive more personalized attention.